I've been a fan of Japanese popular music for over 35 years, and have managed to collect hundreds of CDs during that time. So I decided I wanted to talk about Showa Era music with like-minded fans. My particular era is the 70s and 80s (thus the "kayo kyoku"). The plus part includes a number of songs and artists from the last 20 years and even some of the early stuff. So,let's talk about New Music, aidoru, City Pop and enka. (Sorry but music163 is now dead so ignore those links.)
I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.
Thursday, December 25, 2014
Kei Kobayashi -- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Past the midnight hour into Xmas Day 2014, I've decided to profile a lovely and contemplative version of the old Ralph Blane-and-Hugh Martin Xmas classic, "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" which was originally performed by Judy Garland in her 1944 movie "Meet Me In St. Louis". It sounds rather perfect after the kids have gone to sleep.
Jazz vocalist Kei Kobayashi（小林桂）was someone I first found out about when he was being highlighted in a news feature several years ago while I was still living in Japan. His singing reminded me of a higher-pitched Mel (The Velvet Fog) Torme, and the feature had the angle of the young Kobayashi doing his darndest to become that next successful jazz singer. I was impressed enough by him that I eventually ended up buying his "Nature Boy" album from 2004.
However, his take on "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" (Track 7 on the Amazon page) came from his 2001 album, "Wonderland". I haven't gotten that particular Xmas album but I came across his take on the Blane-and-Martin song via a compilation of J-Xmas tunes. I've also dubbed it into my Xmas mix tape. With all of the jaunty songs out there at this time of year, it's nice to slow down a bit and smell the cocoa with this one.
P.S. If you want to hear a more orchestrally sweeping version of the song, you can try Tatsuro Yamashita's（山下達郎）take on it.